Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Outreach - Light in the Night

Friends,

Each year I like to share a reminder of what we have done the past few years on Halloween to reach out to our neighborhood with the purpose being that the Holy Spirit may lead you according to God’s word in reaching out in some way to your neighborhood.  Maybe these ideas will lead to something you might try or consider in prayer and testing with scripture.

First I should note that I have studied the disturbing origins of Halloween and have made the decision to have nothing at all to do with "celebrating" it.  In fact the history of it unsettles me greatly.  That however is another topic I will not get into at this time.

What we have done instead the past few years on October 31 is to intentionally be a Light in the Night.  We intentionally celebrate Christ and celebrate Him by reaching out to our neighborhood through the sharing of the gospel and free gifts on that night.  In the past years we have a had great conversations with the adults and kids in our neighborhood.  Our kids like to help out and usually we have some friends in Christ come over to help out.  Now on to the details...

Here is what we do:

1.  Be Praying
Always pray and pray always.  October 31 can be a darker night than most for spiritual warfare.  But remember it is God who is the Light and the owner of the Night.  Only He can reach the lost.  We are to surrender and be willing to be used by God as He reaches them.  Put all trust in God.  The battle is His and it has been won.

2.  Be Out.  (Be in the midst)
Instead of handing out candy at the door we go outside and in front of our house in the front yard.  We set up chairs and a table.  There are extra chairs for neighbors to sit as they choose.  We run an extension cord to provide lights for the front yard so that it is the brightest area of the neighborhood.  We have coolers that have gifts in them ready to hand out.  We have the whole family out to talk with people and help do the handing out.  It creates an environment where it is ok to stop, sit and chat for awhile.  Especially if some others are already doing it.  It becomes contagious.

3.  Be About.  (Be Friendly,  Be Loving)
As kids and people come near we invite them over for a free gift before they can say Trick or Treat.  On a personal note the Trick or Treat terminology and history bothers me so we have fun intercepting that by saying "come on over we have something special for you and we are glad you are here."  Engage your neighbors before they engage you.  Go to them.  Make it about you genuinely reaching them for Christ instead of them reaching you for Halloween.  Be about honoring God by loving the lost and by directing the focus from the darkness of Halloween night to the Light of the one true Savior.

4.  Be Ready. (Be Prepared)
Know when October 31 traffic starts.  In our neighborhood it gets dark just before 6:00.  We set up around 5:15 and are ready by 5:30.  Usually the first traffic starts at about 5:45 or  5:50.

5.  Be Giving.  (Be Generous)
We want to make a big impact in every way for God’s glory.  We desire to do that by handing out the biggest candy bars available, the king size ones that are sold at Walgreen's or Costco (Sam's).  We look for the biggest bars we can find and then invest in them.  These are great for a couple of reasons.  Kids really notice them because they are not the bite size candies.  They are huge and the bigger kids 11-14 take notice of the generosity.  So do the parents of the 7-10 year olds.  Almost every parent will come over when I wave the "Mom and Dad" size bars and tell them that they are not left out.  With a sheepish grin they are drawn over, especially the Dads! 
 







Also, the big bars have a lot of room for adding a gospel message or tract.  We use our printer to crank out labels with a gospel message on them that we "stick" to the king size bars.  If you would like a copy of the text we use it is provided at the end of this message.  Yes the candy is expensive but is nothing compared to the price of souls.  We average about 150 pieces a year and that is what we plan for.  About half the pieces are the big bars and the other half regular bars (for the little kids) but still all are bigger than the "bite size" bags.  There are many ways to share the gospel and be generous so be led by the Holy Spirit according to God’s word and be obedient.  You will not regret it. 

6.  Be Light. (Shine Bright)
In addition to the candy we also have tracts ready.  They are tracts that most people "ask for" and enjoy looking at.  Not the ones that people cringe at.  We use Million Dollar bill tracts and Pink/Blue curved illusion tracts the most (shown below).  People love these and ask for extras.
 














Some people hang out because we have prepared a place for them to do that.  We have a chance to talk and the tracts break the ice with a good laugh.  We are able to make a connection.  Since we are outside there is no bottle neck at the front door.  It creates an environment where there is time to talk. 

If we were in the house then when parents let the kids walk up to the front door and stay on the street we would not be able to talk with them.  Since we are outside we actually get to talk to these parents and they are more open to coming up to us to talk.  There is no door or narrow walkway creating a barrier.  Plus it is face to face time for the whole family so it is easier to remember each other in the future.  And when our kids talk to their kids then next thing you know people are hanging out.

A lot of kids really comment about the candy.  They are like WOW!  We let them know that the big candy is a free gift from an even bigger God who created them and to read the important message on the wrapper.  That can lead into conversations about the gospel.

Some big kids want more than one bar.  Even with a huge candy bar one is not enough?  Funny how that works.  Is enough ever enough?  For the bigger kids that want more I let them know they can have another bar if they pass "the test".  I ask if they would consider themselves to be a good person?  And then that leads into gospel!  Trust God and step out and connect with people.


Also we provide a cooler full of water bottles for people to take for free.  The bottles have a “Got Thirst?” gospel label on them.  We put up a Free Stuff table that has DVD’s, Gospel of John’s, etc., which also attracts attention, questions and conversations.

7.  Be Humble (Be Genuine)
Look on everyone that you come in contact with as those that God loves dearly because He does.  He is not willing that any should perish.  Ask God that you would have His heart and compassion.  Then humbly through the power of the Holy Spirit generously share His love and the truth of the gospel to those who are lost.  Share the words of life either in writing stuck (to a big piece of candy) or verbally with those who hang around.  It is a privilege to serve God and meet people.  Be humble and loving when sharing the gospel but do not compromise the truth.  God’s judgment, wrath and Hell are just as real as His mercy, grace and forgiveness offered in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Proclaim the whole gospel earnestly.  Be genuine.  Be real.  Be a servant.

8.  Be Thankful
All Glory is God's.  Not every night honors Him but every night is His and belongs to no other.  Give thanks for His goodness.  Give thanks through honoring Him on October 31 by being His Light in the Night.  Thank Him for casting aside the darkness of night that all that come may see the light.  Thank Him for using a night meant for darkness to instead impact eternity through the sharing of gospel tracts in love to reach the lost.  Give all Glory to God for all Glory is His and He is worthy.  As a family pray asking God that seeds would be planted, that people would read the gospel message, that people would be saved and He glorified.

Summary
In prayer and study seek after God.  Allow God to use you to reach others every day, not just on October 31.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to be light in the middle of darkness.  Show compassion instead of apathy towards those who are lost.  Ask God what He would have you do this October 31 and then ask for the strength to do it.  I pray that in the sharing of this it helps you in some way to serve our King.

In Jesus name,
Rob-roy

"I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12


*************SAMPLE TEXT******************

Are You Ready?

Nobody is guaranteed another day or minute. On Judgment Day every thought, word, and deed will be exposed. All will be guilty of lying, stealing and more. Nothing will be hidden from God. The penalty for sin is punishment in Hell. The good news is God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have Eternal Life.

Jesus took the punishment for sins upon Himself dying on the cross and rising from the dead. God commands you to repent and put all your faith and trust in Jesus alone to save you. There is no other way. No amount of good works will get you to heaven. Repent and trust in Him alone today. You may not have tomorrow. Read the Bible daily and obey what you read.


God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.                     Ephesians 2:8


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rob-

Thanks for the ideas. Good stuff. I wanted to get the links to the information you have regarding Helloween, its history, origins, etc.

Thanks!
Nate
natesteuer@hotmail.com

rrn said...

Nate,

Here are some quick bullet points and references:

Celtic Feast of Samhain (Sah-ween or Sow-in)
 Began over 2000 years ago in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
 The beginning of the Celtic (Druid) new year.
 Celebrated to honor Samhain the "Lord of the Dead" (or Death).
 Druids believed that Samhain, Lord of the Dead, called together the wicked spirits that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals. This was the one night of the year the souls of the dead return to their original homes to be entertained with food.
o These spirits were those which were believed to be wicked as men and condemned to wander the world and haunt the living.
o Sacrifices were offered to appease these dead spirits.
o If food and shelter were not provided the evil disembodied spirits would cast spells and cause havoc toward those failing to fulfill their requests.
 The carved Pumpkin or Jack O Lantern (or turnip, potato, rutabaga, skull) represented Samhain
o The Jack O Lantern was used to ward off the spirits of the dead on this night.
o The Jack O Lantern itself also represented a evil spirit whose soul was condemned to walk the earth forever in search of rest.
 Apple bobbing was used by the Druids as a means of the occult practice of divination.
 Today's connections to ancient Celtic occultists:
o People visiting homes represent the dead in search of food (TREAT).
o Costumes of Ghosts, Goblins, Witches, etc., represent the evil spirits seeking mischief (TRICK).
o Those passing out candy represent the homes visited by the dead and placating them with sacrifice (TREAT).
 Today's connections to current occultists:
o Witches celebrate this day above all others as a festival of the dead. The Wiccan New Year begins on Oct 31st. It is considered the day that spirits roam the earth and the best time to contact spirits because the veil between the worlds is thinnest. One can communicate with departed loved ones or help those who need it with their transitions into the spiritual realm.
o Satanists celebrate this day as one of their three main holidays along with one’s own birthday and in Spring the formation of the Church of Satan in 1966 is annually celebrated.

All Saints Day / All Hallows Eve
 Moved from May 13th to November 1st in 835 AD by Pope Gregory IV to coincide with Samhain.
 Celebrates the saints who have gone before us:
o Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc (Hebrews 11)

Reformation Day
 It commemorates Dr. Martin Luther's posting of his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517.
 This act triggered the movement in world history known as the Reformation. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the Gospel, the good news of salvation by grace through faith.

References
- Occult ABC, Kurt Koch
- Witches, Erica Jong
- Magic For The Aquarian Age, Marian Green
- Halloween and Satanism, P. Phillips and J.H. Robie
- Like Lambs To The Slaughter, Johanna Michaelsen
- The Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, Mather & Nichols
- The Satanic Bible, Anton Le Vay


For additional information these links may also be helpful:
http://www.gotquestions.org/Christians-celebrate-Halloween.html
http://carm.org/questions/other-questions/where-did-halloween-come-can-christian-celebrate-it
http://www.history.com/topics/halloween
http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Pagan-Ritual-Party-Night/dp/0195168968
http://www.wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm
http://www.wicca.org/calendar/events.html

Thanks,
rr

Dave said...

We do you get the water bottle labels from?

rrn said...

Dave,

Here is the information you are interested in. I had www.CustomTractSource.com print a label I designed. It was a special order that you won't find as a standard item on the website. They did the final artwork based on matching what I put together in powerpoint for them to use as an idea of what I was wanting.

The labels themselves are 2x8 High adhesion Crack-N-Peel stickers. I just crack and peel the stickers and then stick them right on the water bottles over top of the existing label.

The pricing for the labels that last time I ordered was as follows:
500 = $125 ($0.40 each)
1,000 = $175 ($0.18 each)
2,500 = $275 ($0.11 each)
5,000 = $325 ($0.07 each)

I worked with Andy who probably would still have the artwork ready to go and could confirm the current pricing. They also made the signs and table banners as well (Need Prayer, Free Drinks, Got Thirst).
If you would like some for free just send me your address and I will send what you need.

Go to (http://www.got-thirst.blogspot.com/) and scroll to the bottom to see an image of the label.

Thanks,
Rob-roy
(rrn@cox.net)